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The Future of Travel Marketing is All About Microsegments

Katie Briscoe

This year’s DMO Mojo took us to the gorgeous Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.  Our annual think tank with top minds in destination travel didn’t disappoint

Lucas Cobb, VP of Integrated Planning, and I kicked off this year’s Mojo with some good news: our industry is healthy and thriving, and intent among American travelers is reaching all-time highs. However, the desires of travelers are continuing to evolve by the day, from how they’re inspired to the behaviors they exhibit before, during, and after their travels. 

With a growing population that’s more diverse than ever, travel is on everyone’s minds.

Two common trends that have emerged and hold true among travelers today, regardless of age group or demographics: The Power of Connections and the implications of High-Touch vs. High-Tech.

Consider this: more than 8 in 10 consumers would rather have their future travel experiences dominated by authentic and sincere customer service interactions than streamlined and automated customer service.1 And,  by 2020, it’s expected that customer experience will overtake price as the key differentiator in decision-making. 

Technology is excellent for managing and streamlining logistics. It should never replace the true “hospitality” element of our industry. 

Lucas and I wanted to challenge MOJO attendees with the idea that with these trends and with better data than ever available on visitors, how can we get away from mass marketing programs and start speaking to high-converting micro segments for our destinations. 

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After all, it’s not just about the Millennial demographic. It’s about a mindset that Millennials lead and other age groups follow.

We talked through five micro segments we’ve been exploring at MMGY. 

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These just scratch the surface of the possibilities for micro segmentation. 

Effective marketing is all about hitting the right person at the right moment with the right context. While kind of cliché, we now have access to deep data that allows us to carve out niche market segments and utilize what seems to be an endless number of marketing platforms to create a much more personalized marketing strategy.

From rethinking the purpose of destination websites to shifting marketing dollars to experiential events that allow direct consumer connection to leveraging influencers to tell the stories our destinations to their engaged and like-minded audiences. 

We could have gone on for another hour talking about the opportunities in social for travel marketers. Paid social advertising opportunities like Facebook Canvas are becoming far more sophisticated than traditional display, and Mark Zuckerberg just announced that Facebook is opening up its messaging platform to brand promotion. This is a huge opportunity. 

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Never mind the growth of other messaging apps worldwide like WhatsApp and WeChat. Or the explosion of that thing called Snapchat.  

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It’s an exciting time to be in the travel industry, and the opportunities we have to effectively market our destinations are greater than ever before.   

1Amex Travel Future Trends Report, July 2014

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